Is Your Boss Superhuman?

It's a lot harder to be good boss than a nice person.

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Outside Voices - ''Working Girl'' aka Karen Burns
Maybe you've had one. A boss who's a likable, funny, generous, and all-around lovely human, but who is...a terrible boss. Unreliable. Inconsistent. Disorganized. In short, a nightmare.

The qualities that make people charming and fun are not the same qualities that make them good bosses. In fact, it's a lot harder to be a good boss than to be a nice person. Why? Because a good boss is a predictable, sane, and organized human being who can handle power with grace and humility.

That ain't just human. That's superhuman.

More ways that good bosses are superhuman:

  • Good bosses make their expectations clear.
    • Good bosses distribute the workload fairly.
      • Good bosses schedule the workload sanely.
        • Good bosses give you the tools you need to do your job and then let you do it.
          • Good bosses keep their promises.
            • Good bosses back you up, protecting you from those who want to harm your interests.
              • Good bosses give you credit for your successes, and tell others about them, too.
                • Good bosses take the blame for your mistakes, and help you avoid mistakes in the future.
                  • Good bosses let you know how you're doing.
                    • Good bosses help you achieve your career (and maybe even life) goals.
                    • That's a lot to ask of a human. But we ask it of a boss. So if you have one who does most of these things, most of the time, count yourself lucky.

                      Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at